(WXYZ) - Americans are sweet on chocolate and spend more than $16 billion a year on chocolate candy. Consumer Reports just rated boxed chocolates that cost from $5 all the way up to more than $100! Do you need to splurge to find the very best?
Consumer Reports rated 29 boxes of chocolate, from pricey assortments to collections that cost much less, and the testers found big differences. The more expensive chocolates tended to be smooth in texture and melt in your mouth, whereas the cheaper chocolates were a bit gritty.
Ingredients count, too. The best chocolates had fresh nuts or real fruit flavors. But in the cheaper boxes, artificial flavors and even stale ingredients were more common.
In all, 12 assortments rated Excellent. But the mouth-watering chocolates will cost you. One of the best, Norman Love Confections, cost about $50 for a 12-ounce box. The fillings are unusual, such as key lime, passion fruit, and even peanut butter and jelly.
Consumer Reports also found some Best Buys that aren't quite as good but cost much less, including See's Assorted Chocolates, $16 a pound, and Ferrero Collection Fine Assorted Confections, $9 for about 9 ounces.
If you're lucky enough to receive a special assortment this Valentine's Day, don't save them. The best chocolates are meant to be enjoyed at their freshest, often within a week or two.
Many of the top chocolates are available online, but be aware that shipping fees can really boost the cost, even double it, so you'll want to factor that in.
Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site.
Copyright © 2007-2011 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumers Reports' Web site. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.